Hazards

  • Microscopic asbestos fibers from friable (loose or crumbling) asbestos can be suspended in air and inhaled. Once inhaled, fibers remain in lungs, causing lung cancer.
  • Asbestos may be found in pipe insulation and insulating boards, textured wall surfaces, electrical equipment, floor and roofing tiles and certain adhesives.

Handling

  • If asbestos is in good condition, and fibers are not exposed, it does not need to be removed.
  • Slightly damaged or loose asbestos can be re-wrapped rather than removed.
  • Asbestos should be handled by a certified asbestos abatement contractor (call Massachusetts Department of Labor and Workforce Development at 800-425-0004 for list of licensed abatement contractors).
  • MassDEP requires notification at least 10 business days prior to any asbestos removal activities.
  • All asbestos containing materials must be containerized, labeled and removed in accordance with MassDEP air quality and solid waste regulations. Asbestos must be adequately wetted so that fibers will not be released, and sealed in leak-tight, properly labeled containers. If bags are used, they should be thick plastic (6 mil) and double bagged. The same handling procedures are required for contaminated clothes and equipment. Container must then be labeled with an OSHA approved asbestos warning label. For additional information, see:
  • Do not dust, sweep or vacuum particles suspected of containing asbestos.

Management Options

  • All asbestos materials must be disposed of in landfills permitted to receive asbestos. Currently there are no such permitted landfills in Massachusetts. If you need to find a landfill that will accept asbestos waste, please call the asbestos staff person in your region for assistance
  • Asbestos-containing asphalt roofing materials and vinyl asbestos floor tiles that are not broken and are removed in accordance with MassDEP regulations can be disposed of in designated solid waste landfills.
  • Asbestos containing materials should never be disposed of in a combustion facility or compacted because fibers may be released to the surrounding area.

For more information, see the Answers to Common Asbestos Questions or contact the MassDEP Regional Office for your community and ask to speak with an asbestos expert. Find Your Region